A FOURTH quarter cave in by Sheffield Sharks yesterday led to their fourth straight loss to start the BBL Championship.
After their first victory of the season on Friday night at the EIS against Cheshire Jets in the BBL Cup the Sharks travelled south to Guildford to take on Surrey Heat full of confidence that they could at last get their Championship campaign going.
And for the first three quarters of the match it looked as though they could bring the points back to Sheffield as they matched the in form Heat and held a slender advantage with just five seconds remaining of the penultimate period.
But, as had been the case in Sharks’ three previous Championship encounters, including one against Heat - they were unable to stem the flow of points once the opposition put a run together.
Trailing 53-52 heading into the final quarter the Sharks were still only down by four (61-57) with five minutes 42 seconds left on the clock.
However, once Martelle McLemore had converted one free throw, it kick-started an 18-3 run by the home team that took the score to 79-60 with just 56 seconds to play.
The burst completely shattered any hopes that Sharks had of shocking the Heat at Surrey Sports Park, where the hosts remain unbeaten this season.
But it needn’t have been such a heavy defeat. Heat shaded the first period 16-14 having always had their noses in front after scoring the first five points of the game.
Sharks had led several times in the period after good work by Olu Babalola, Gage Daye and Colin Sing.
Similarly, the second quarter saw neither team able to establish any real daylight whatsoever with the Heat still only marginally ahead at the interval by 35-33.
Sheffield had led by three (25-22) on a triple by Andrew Bridge. And it was only on the final play of the half that Surrey, through the impressive McLemore, edged in front.
It was then an even tighter affair year again during the third quarter as Sharks ensured it was a one-point game going into the last ten minutes.
Sheffield had trailed by ten (47-37) midway through the period but battled back to lead 52-49 on a Micah Williams three. However, after Heat again responded to take a narrow lead into the final quarter they imploded and found scoring difficult as Surrey turned the defensive screw.
n SHARKS: Babalola 15, Gachette 10, Daye 9, Tuck 8, Williams 7, Sing 7, Bridge 5, Brownell 2.
n Sharks will host Glasgow Rocks in the quarter final of the BBL Cup over weekend of November 2-4.